Blue jeans, cowboy boots, dirt roads and beer: the four elements every song needs to be considered country “music.” Molasses too, for special occasions.
Regardless of residing in Manhattan, my distaste for country music has only grown as I am constantly surrounded by the noise many of you call music. To many country music lovers’ dismay, I have passed up free tickets to a Garth Brooks concert and Country Stampede, concerts many of you would trip over your spurs to get your lasso on.
Country “music” is not music, but rather, background noise to binging beer and drunken nights spent outdoors. It’s the kind of music you’re not supposed to think about too much, or really at all. In my experience, you have to just let it happen to you.
While I have no issue with those of you who choose to let your ears bleed in support of this genre, I would rather square dance across a Formula One racing track than be forced to listen to one more formulaic country track.
While many genres of music tend to borrow tempo, rhythm and other elements of a song from different genres, never has the music industry been so repetitive than the noise that is country music. Let’s take a look at the lyrics, shall we?
“You’re lookin’ so good in what’s left of those blue jeans,” Luke Bryan said while singing, “Drunk On You.”
“She’s got the blue jeans painted on tight,” David Nail said while singing, “Whatever She’s Got.”
“Yeah, caught up in a Southern summer, a barefoot, blue jean night,” Jake Owen said while singing, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.”
Keith Urban literally sings a song titled “Blue Jeans” where the entirety of the song talks about … you guessed it. Blue jeans. The song actually ends with him droning on about “pulling his blue jeans on” a whopping eight times, and that’s just at the end of the song. Maybe he’s had enough beers by this point in the song where it literally took him eight tries, but I don’t need to hear about that, Keith.
I’m not even a country music fan, and I figured out pretty quickly the topics of interest many of these songs (all of them) focus around.
Regardless of the lyrics, even the sound of these songs are the same. The lulling drone of a deep-voiced male and the fierce bellowing of some pissed off ex-girlfriend trying to key a truck. For God’s sake, Taylor Swift has an entire album that wouldn’t even exist without the many men that pissed her off. Am I generalizing here? Of course, but not without a large handful of songs to back up my reasoning.
There are emotional rewards behind every song we hear. Music can evoke memories, emotions and can be thought provoking at times. According to an April 17, 2014 BBC article titled, “Why does music evoke memories?” the two large areas in the brain associated with memory are the hippocampus and the frontal cortex. They take in so much information at once that it is oftentimes hard to retrieve information later on. Music is one key to unlocking this unknown information. The melody, structure of the song and the images provoked by the words is what later triggers this information.
With so much of modern country music sounding exactly the same and singing about the same things, I see no purpose in retrieving memories from this genre of music. The only thing country music could possibly provoke in my brain is an image of a warm Bud Light. How purposeful can that be?
Fame and fortune
Most country singers droning on about country roads and old trucks are most likely living off private roads and driving brand new Ford F-350’s. According to a Sept. 20, 2011 Forbes article titled, “Country Music Highest-Paid Stars,” Brad Paisley’s album “This is Country Music” went gold in a month. Country music stars are signing with car companies, like Ford, and making big bucks off the great advertising they provide. Movies like “Country Strong” bring in the big bucks, as well as more unnecessary fame for these already millionaires.
Imagine what some of the old, real country singers would think of the “country” station that everyone in your life wishes you would turn off. Would Patsy Cline care to listen to Carrie Underwood sing unadulterated twang about adultery? Don’t you think Johnny Cash would want to kick Blake Shelton’s pandering butt? If you truly love good country music, aren’t you outraged that these interchangeable, four-chord playing “artists” are tarnishing the legacy of Webb Pierce and Tom T. Hall, and everything that country music could and should be?
I can’t help but be irritated by the lack of understanding many of modern country singers have towards what it means to live in the country and modestly, for that matter. Real farmers and ranchers should be ashamed at the references these rich moguls make towards their hard work only to make money for themselves.
According to Forbes most powerful celebrities list, Taylor Swift falls in at number 18, making about $64 million. Taylor Swift and powerful in the same sentence? While switching from country to pop music may sound like quite the endeavor and deserving of some recognition, I feel as though putting her on some list accrediting her power is just plain overkill.
Music can be incredible. It is thought provoking, and it is moving; I have literally been brought to tears by certain songs as well as covered in goosebumps when I hear powerful lyrics. Country music, by no means, has any power over my emotions, other than the strong feeling of repulse and annoyance I feel when being forced to listen to it.
I encourage those of you who categorize country music as one of your favorite genres to branch out. You’ll be surprised and moved by the amazing music you discover.
Kelly Iverson is a senior in mass communications.